Participatory music-making stands proudly beside the concert hall greats
04 May 2018
Rosemary Johnson, RPS Executive Director, points up the inventive and ambitious projects shortlisted for this year's RPS Music Awards
If a great composer wrote a great symphony but there was no one there ever to play it, to conduct it, hear it, or even read the score – would it still be great music? This may sound like a metaphysical question, but for me there is only one answer. The symphony would be an irrelevance: music is all about people.
Next week the Royal Philharmonic Society announces the winners of its annual RPS Music Awards, which celebrate outstanding live music in the UK. What I love about the awards, quite separately from the handing out of the beautiful silver lyre-shaped trophies, is the bigger picture which the nominations paint about the current state of classical music in the UK, and how musicians, audiences and participants are all contributing to the finest live music.
So, alongside classical music’s ‘big names’ – amongst them Igor Levit, Isabelle Faust, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Oliver Knussen, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Antonio Pappano and Vladimir Jurowski (all of whom acknowledge, incidentally, that they would not have careers without the talented musicians and audiences who participate in their performances) – sit a plethora of imaginative events which have engaged thousands of ordinary people in live music-making, often in parts of the UK where it is normally hard to come by. I say ‘ordinary’, but in reality, these events have proved their participants to be anything but; they are at the centre of exceptional music inspired by the lives they lead and the legends of their communities. This is music making for and with people of all ages – and I mean ALL – some experiencing the revelatory joys of live classical music for the very first time.
Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican Centre: The Royal Philharmonic Society has been a revolutionary force for good in my musical life.
DID YOU KNOW?
The RPS sent Beethoven £100 in 1827 to help comfort him when he was ill and much in need of money.